Carolinas HealthCare System
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5 Ways to Exercise While Watching TV
Take the Test, Know Your Score!

Watching TV is a popular leisure-time activity. In fact, the average American spends five hours a day in front of the tube. That doesn’t mean all that time should be spent doing nothing. For people with Type 2 diabetes, sitting in front of the TV is an opportunity to build muscle, raise the heart rate and stretch the body. Even a small amount of activity can be beneficial. Research shows that physical activity can:

  • Lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure
  • Improve your body’s ability to use insulin
  • Help you lose weight, which can delay and possibly prevent Type 2 diabetes

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, all of these effects can also reduce the odds of diabetes complications in your kidneys, eyes and nerves and slash the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

The next time you’re watching TV, try one of these strategies to keep you moving.

1. Keep exercise equipment close

That idle treadmill or stationary bike can be moved in front of the television, allowing you to do double-duty with your eyes and body. Even more portable are small weights and resistance bands.

2. Turn commercial breaks into calorie-torching minutes

A typical 30-minute TV show includes about eight minutes of commercial time. Use it to move about the house, dust the room you’re in or put laundry away. Even small movements add up.

3. Test yourself

Track how many sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges or squats you can do during a show or commercial break. Try to boost these tallies – even if by just a few – each time you’re watching TV.

4. Walk in place

Wearing a pedometer, you’ll get instant gratification from learning just how many steps you can log by marching your legs up and down in front of the tube.

5. Watch exercise shows and follow along

It doesn’t take a trip to the gym to get moving when you flip on one of the many free cable channels showing daily exercise programs. A bonus? When you’re done working out, you’re already home!

Remember to check with your physician before starting a new exercise program.